Estimated Achievement Difficulty: 6/10
Offline: 12 (200)
Approximate amount of time to 200: 4+ hours
Minimum number of playthroughs needed: 1 (though most levels will require at least 2 playthroughs)
Missable Achievements: None
Do cheats disable achievements: No Cheats
Does difficulty affect achievements?: Only one difficulty level
Glitchy Achievements: None
Unobtainable Achievements: None
Extra Equipment Needed: None
Welcome to Carneyvale: Showtime, a vertical platformer style game with simple controls, requiring tight timing. The game can be frustrating at times, though many achievements can be made far easier by knowing a few tricks. There are only 18 levels in the game, each with 5 mission criteria or stars (collecting all balloons, finding the secret star, finishing under time, finishing without losing a life and finishing the level). Finishing mission criteria will unlock bonus levels, each with a hidden item allowing you to take a few hits before you lose a life (invaluable in later levels). Knowing this, you can jump right in.
Step One: Main playthrough
For the most part, the achievements are straight forward, and just knowing what you need to do will allow you to do it by focussing. There is even a wonderful achievement tracker in the main menu to tell you exactly what you have left to unlock each achievement. If you ever get stuck, refer to that or the achievement guide below. It is a good idea to keep track of the life ups that you are collecting, though, just to save you from having to run through each level again to find the ones you missed. A full list of how many life-ups can be found in each level is in the achievement guide below. It would be ridiculous to post the location of every balloon, star and life up in the game, but none of them are well hidden, so just explore and you will find them.
Step 2: Mop Up/unlocking bonus levels
A few of the achievements will require some special attention. Passing the final 3 levels without losing a life will be difficult without hit protection, so go back and do every mission criteria that you may have missed in order to unlock the final two bonus levels, since they will provide you with 7 and 9 hit protection (ie. you can get hit 9 times before you lose a life). Unfortunately, the bonus is not permenant, so you will need to recollect the item to refill your protection. To unlock the final bonus level, you will need 100 stars total, with only 110 appearing in the game (5 of them on the bonus level you want to unlock). That may seem daunting, but you can get them all on separate runs if needed. You will also need to create a custom level, which is simple enough. After that, it is just a matter of practice and skill to get the final few level requirements.
The game has challenging moments (particularly passing level 3 with all balloons and the star in under a minute), but it is simply down to practice. And the game is enjoyable enough to mitigate any frustration you may encounter.
[x360a would like to thank Capn Doug for this Roadmap]